Tag Archive: men and women


i go outside

and sit on the top step in front of my apartment

and look around…

taking in the sights

listening to the noise

a family preparing for a celebration across the street

the sound of a car backfiring, further down the road

a laugh, an ambulance siren, a child’s excited scream, the sound of two cats fighting, the music starting up

and all seems normal

this all feels right and good

i pause and take it all in…

 

[time passes]

 

i move indoors

and sit in front of my laptop computer

and look around…

taking in the tweets

listening amidst the noise

and somehow stumble upon a hashtag

that might appear like any other hashtag

but somehow does not

 

a community trying desperately to rise above the silence and find and use their voices to start sharing their stories #YesAllWomen

a community responding with defensiveness, parody and even outright aggression #YesAllMen

a community for the most part meaning well but demonstrating a complete missing of the point #YesAllPeople

 

“Because I get more hate and looks for wearing shorts than men get from each other for sexual assault.” #YesAllWomen

“Handyman came to house to fix a door. 50% of my brain was on escape plan if he tried to attack me.” #YesAllWomen

“When a man says no in this culture, it’s the end of a discussion. When a woman says no, it’s the beginning of a negotiation.” #YesAllWomen

“Because when star high school athletes rape a teenage girl, the headline is about their ruined careers and not her messed up life.” #YesAllWomen

“Because what men fear most about going to prison is what women fear most about walking down the sidewalk.” #YesAllWomen

 

as i read and i read and try to make sense of it all

the list just seems to go on and on and on

this all seems like it is their normal

and there is nothing good and right about this

i pause and try to take it all in

 

[days pass]

 

here i am once more

i sit in a state of deep thought and confusion and sadness

and look inside…

taking in the search

listening for a sound

a sound of hope

a whisper of change

the hint of possibility

sign of a better thing to come

but still the melody plays on…

 

for all the nights I’ve walked home with my keys poking out of my knuckles #YesAllWomen

for the meaningless goodbye call of ‘Text me when you arrive there #YesAllWomen

for the fear she has when she is the only other person in the elevator even though he is in uniform #YesAllWomen

for the need she feels to quicken her pace when she realises the person walking behind her is a man #YesAllWomen

 

For every single female friend and relative of mine who has been abused or threatened in any way #YesAllWomen

For every lewd suggestionand comment my wife had to listen to on the way to work any time she walked by herself #YesAllWomen

For the time my wife had to beg two guys sitting in their car to get out and help her when he was harrassing her on the street #YesAllWomen

For every cringeworthy male and female response i have been unfortunate to read this last week by those who don’t ‘get’ it #YesAllWomen

 

[more time]

 

once more, here i am

i am a man

i feel the legacy of a system i have in part inherited

i sense the responsibility i have to shape, fashion and change what i witness around me

but also the importance of me not leading the struggle or revolution

for that requires a woman’s voice

that cries out for women’s voices

but perhaps i can in part show support

in part do my best to draw attention to the importance of this conversation

in part try my best to call for some measure of quiet among the frenzy of messed up misunderstanding and oppositional blabber

i can model and speak up and challenge and inspire and refuse to be drawn in and help and walk away from and intervene

and i can write and point and show and tell and hope and pray and teach and sing

and i can be. and be well.

 

and until, collectively, we can figure out what do to

how to move forward

how to see this change in action

until such a time…

 

together we can hold hands and walk tall and cheer each other on

looking forward together

towards a new normal

one that feels right and good

 

for all.

 

but until that time, #YesAllWomen

 

[by brett Fish anderson, @brettfisha]

[To read my original post explaining why this is so important for men to be paying attention to, click here]

 

 

 

 

 

 

There’s a new hashtag in town. 

Followed by a yawn right? Cos who cares about hashtags? Aren’t they just like ‘groups’ on Facebook?

What is a group on Facebook? Someone starts a group based on some topic they feel passionate about such as interesting shapes of clouds, bonsai tree gardening or stuffed animals – you get an invite, you join the group and… NOTHING ELSE EVER HAPPENS. I dunno, maybe you’re in better groups than me, but for the most part they are a way of identifying that you have a particular interest, but not much else. However, the two groups that actually ever did anything, became incredible community spaces because people really got invested and engaged and those were great!

Same with hashtags on Twitter, for the most part. Occasionally you find something fun or interesting and are able to follow it to get more info or greater laughs.

#MeteorShower from Friday night was a classic example of that – huge exciting natural phenomenon of epic proportions prophecied by the people of science, but for the most part the experience of Meteor Shower Watching was a huge anticlimax and led to some classics such as:

and:

i even got into the act making some Hollywood adapted references to Meteor flavoured movies such as:

and my most popular:

Thus, in certain situations, hashtags have definitely had their uses, but not many of them as significant as #YesAllWomen which has hit the ground running and been gathering speed over the last 24 hours. 

WHERE DID THEY COME FROM?

Apparently the hashtag was created as a response to the tragic story of the shooting in Santa Barbara on Friday which took the lives of 6 people, as the shooter apparently had a lot of videos on You Tube where he vented his frustrations against women. You can read the article that speaks about the connection over here.

But #YesAllWomen is also part of a longer conversation that involves the rights and freedoms of women and includes topics like the much-misunderstood concept of ‘rape culture’ [the idea that the woman who experiences a rape is made to feel like a victim all over again by how she is treated/judged/looked at afterwards]. This feels like it has been gaining momentum in the last few years and #YesAllWomen is finally an opportunity for it to be brought to a wider audience.

I happened to stumble upon it by accident by following a link [ah so that’s what the hashtag is for] to #YesAllWomen from a tweet someone had retweeted which appeared on my wall. When i started reading, i was deeply moved by some of the messages that i read, such as these:

 

It was really great seeing some celebs come on board as clearly they have the kind of audience that will help get a message like this moving quicker. Here is one from Patton Oswalt, who hosted the recent Webby awards that celebrated all things internet:

I also found a link to a blog post by Gina Denny which helped explain the hashtag a little more clearly as many people were clearly misunderstanding it and a lot of them [typically men, nice one us!] were getting angry and seeing it as something that was being used against all men. Read this post! This excerpt from the blog piece sums it up well

Writer and comedian Sara Benincasa told The Daily Beast, “#YesAllWomen is important because a lot of very good guys just don’t know what it’s like to walk around in a female body. They don’t know what it’s like to live with the constant nagging threat of sexual violence every time we walk to our cars alone in a parking garage, or walk down the street at night to pick up food for our kids. They don’t know what it’s like to get grabbed, poked, and prodded in public by strangers who are bigger and stronger than we are. Being a woman can be really scary, and if more guys realized it, they might modify their own behavior or call their friends out on bad behavior.”

The hashtag, Benincasa said, has united women to share their stories online. “Seeing one woman share her story can give another woman the idea that it is safe to do so.”

COME ON MEN, WE CAN DO BETTER

Wow, so i thought it would be a good idea to check out the #YesAllMen tag before posting this and so literally just went on there now and am so completely bummed [and sadly not surprised at all] to see the typical response which has, for the most part, been a combination of parody or anger directed towards those taking part in the #YesAllWomen conversation.

At the same time, I have to cheer all the men [and there have been a lot] who have climbed on board, like Patton Oswalt and others, in terms of adding their voices to this tag which was created for women to be able to share their stories. One of the most powerful responses for me [which proved to me how valid and valuable this is] is women who commented that reading through the hashtag messages resonated with so much of what was said which combated the feelings many of them had of being alone. As with many of the Taboo Topics i share stories from on my blog [dealing with issues/experiences such as losing a child, abortion, infertility, even singleness] the power in them comes when a person who is struggling through something alone, finds that there is a larger community they are a part of, of people who at least in some way understand.

But reading through #YesAllMen [which i don’t even want to give a second of attention to by posting examples here or giving a link – some of the commentary there was pure filth] just backs up how important this conversation is and hopefully finding ways that we can make progress in that area, which is clearly the source of a lot of pain for many women.

CAN WE PLEASE STAY FOCUSED ON THE THING

And then there is also #YesAllPeople which i imagine may have been started by some well meaning person who thought that we should all be focusing on these issues together. Or very likely not – there seems to be a mix of comments on there ranging from sarcastic and well-meaning to aggressive and eye-rolling and more. But what it does is it takes the focus of a very real issue that has been raised and in some part says that it is not important or worth really listening to. This tweet sums it up so well:

So yes, there is probably a need for the idea of #YesAllPeople for a range of topics and issues and areas that need some focus and discussion. But this is not one of them. There is a need for men everywhere to be LISTENING and REALLY TRYING TO HEAR AND EMPATHISE AND UNDERSTAND what is being said. We will probably never ‘get it’ until the wolf whistles start happening to us and we can’t walk down a street with a woman following us and be in absolute fear or when we get judged by our clothing and treated in many ways like second rate citizens.

We won’t fully get it, but we can try to understand and we HAVE TO LISTEN!

I am a man. And i support #YesAllWomen. As the graphic at the top says, it should not have to be because she is someone’s sister or mother or daughter… but it should be enough that she is someone. And deserves our care and respect. Hopefully a day is coming when we don’t need to wear things like this:

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